Archive for the ‘food’ Category
Former Foreign Secretary takes the sea air in South Shields
A lot of people were rather bemused that Prime Minister “call me Dave” Cameron carved out “chillaxing” time at the weekends by losing his daughter at the pub or playing games on his iPad, or even fitting in a game of tennis, but really it must do an MP (or a PM) a world of good to get away from the Westminster village and make time for more important matters, especially if he/she has a young family. So it was good to see our constituency MP David Miliband along with his wife Louise and the two boys “enjoying” yesterday’s horrendous rain on the sea front in South Shields. Sheltered beneath his NASUWT umbrella, the former Foreign Secretary was in very anonymous mood dressed down in denim jeans, and a sporty looking waterproof zippered jacket that could easily have come from one of Mike Ashley’s outlets (let’s hope not), matched to a very expensive looking pair of brown suede boots. He and his family were making the most of this trip to the constituency as the parade for Armed Services Day was about to make its way down from Gypsies Green Stadium to the Bents Park, yet despite the weather they all seemed to be enjoying themselves quite unperturbed by the lack of apparent interest in them, they could easily have been Mr. and Mrs. Thompson from Tynemouth on a day trip – Joe Public was none the wiser!
Oddly I didn’t see David Miliband in the Bents Park for the commemorative service for our armed personnel (that is not to say that he wasn’t in there for a time) but I did see him and one of his sons making his way along Bents Park Road homeward bound as the service was in progress. The talk was of things that young boys find so important of course, like building some sort of “transformers” type machine big enough to hide inside of a van and ready to gobble up marauders, and as most fathers know only too well thoughts quickly turn to the empty stomach and move towards lunch if the lads have had some exercise.
Now Colemans fish and chips are very nice, but on a Sunday?
Well, why not? However, it has to be said that there are other fish and chip shops worth a try in town, but when it comes down to ice cream the lads are totally correct, there is no other ice cream in the world after you have tasted Minchellas!
I’m not the only one who had a busy day, our newly elected councillors in South Tyneside were in South Shields Town Hall for the Annual Meeting of the borough council, it must have been nerve racking and a little tense for the newcomers, it is always a big occasion as a new Mayor and Deputy Mayor are installed and new committee chairs are announced. I was asked by Cllr, Jim Sewell to take some pictures of himself, his wife, and close family as he enjoys the honour of becoming the first citizen of the borough, I was flattered and a bit awestruck by the size of Jim’s extended family. I was hoping to grab some relaxing shots of himself and his family in the Mayor’s Parlour, but looking at the size of his guest list I think they would easily have filled the Town Hall forecourt!
I can imagine that the Annual Meeting is a day filled with pride for a new Mayor and Mayoress, indeed many former Mayors have told me of the trepidation that they felt upon facing chairing their first meeting, Jim was no different, although he appeared calm and relaxed in the ante room an hour before the meeting he was actually worried sick that some of his travelling relatives might not arrive on time for the start of the meeting. I wished that I could have stayed but needed to be in two places at once today, so had to dash away and return later for more pictures. It gives me the opportunity of showing off our new Mayor to the world (I do like to promote our corner of Tyneside) and I’ll give you all a look at his family with a bit of a picture special tomorrow.
Like the State Opening of Parliament, our Annual Meeting is getting to be a bit of a fashion event with some snazzy dressing up going on, Cllr. John McCabe again arrived in full Scottish costume minus the bagpipes, Cllr. Anne Walsh looked like she was ready to fly off to Dublin to meet the Queen, Cllr. “longlegs” Welsh was looking very chic in a stylish catwalk creation, and Deputy Mayor Eilleen Leesk’s husband Peter had found a tie fashioned from the flock wallpaper of his favourite restaurant to go with his smart grey suit. I dressed in pink……oops!
As is normal on these days, the new Mayor holds a Civic reception after the meeting with a buffet and refreshments for the many guests who had travelled from all parts of the country to join him and wish him well for the forthcoming year, and also, as is usual, some of those councillors who happily spend the rest of the year publishing newsletters bemoaning how much of our money other councillors spend on “refreshments” were seen to be sauntering around (you guessed it) wine glass in hand enjoying the refreshments!
Good to see veteran Progressive councillor Jimmy Capstick too, glad he’s out and about with a decent healthy colour in his cheeks, and happy that he’s slowly getting over his recent illness.
Also had a few nudges and whispers from some, and the promise of big news from another, I wonder that could be all about?
South Shields really shines in the sun
I’ve had a great weekend, and hope you all did too, the early spring sunshine has helped to show South Shields at its very best with thousands of visitors enjoying our coast, beaches, parks, and restaurants. Friday’s Royal Wedding was a joy to watch whether at home in front of the TV or in the South Marine Park where I reckon about 1000 people were sitting on the grass with their picnics in front of a giant screen erected in front of the restored bandstand, it would be churlish NOT to congratulate the people at South Tyneside Council for arranging this. The picture quality was first class even in the strong sunlight, just a pity that a sharp shower temporarily got in the way, but it didn’t force people to leave, it really was quite festive.
We managed to do some supermarket shopping in the morning and it was the easiest experience you could find, the place was near deserted and we were finished in less than twenty minutes, I had a chat with some of the staff and discovered that they had all volunteered to work on Friday and rewarded with overtime and a day off in lieu. It was also interesting to note that each year they nominate two of the available eight Bank Holidays to work and rotas are arranged on that basis, a pretty good way of satisfying almost all of the staff and ensuring that they get a good amount of Bank Holidays to themselves to enjoy with their families.
Saturday also found huge crowds in the parks enjoying the weather and I can see in future years that the cafe available inside the new swimming pool will be well used, certainly if we fall victim to the odd shower. Just disappointed that the afternoon was marred by a pretty inept display from Sunderland who surrendered without a fight to Fulham.
Yesterday saw me delivering leaflets in the Harton ward of South Shields in delightful warm sunshine, which made the task that much more rewarding, even had a very friendly chat with a congenial Labour councillor, as well as adding to some sterling work being done in the Beacon and Bents ward. Met many prominent members of our Bengali community yesterday evening on a full tour of every one of our restaurants in the town centre and Ocean Road, it was pretty cheerful and the reception was great, once again it was apparent that South Shields was the place to be as just about every establishment was busy with queues forming at two or three of the most popular, but boy the aromas of the spices were inviting. Just wish I could have sat down and joined in the feasting, but it was a bit early in the evening for me.
I have to say that I’ve been very encouraged by the responses we’ve received whilst campaigning for Mr. Hayder in the Beacon and Bents ward, no hostility at all, and I think people welcome the additional choice and a return to the days of more activity from the local Conservative candidate, far better than the days when a name was offered as a choice but no effective campaigning took place. This is far, far different to recent years.
We may be taking a trip out today if the kids can decide to agree, then it’s back to normal from tomorrow, hope you all enjoyed this great Bank Holiday weekend.
Welcome back to the MiliTV Channel, just one of a series of initiatives which I am considering to supplement my salary for being the MP for South Shields. I consider these part-time jobs as an essential duty as I do my bit to pay back part of the £1 trillion debt that my colleagues in the last Labour government built up for you, (and yes I know, some of you are finding it difficult to get one job never mind two or three). Don’t know if you realised but it’s building up at the rate of over £7000 per second now because David Cameron and George Osborne cannot get to grips with controlling this wonderful legacy that we left for your children and grandchildren. Every employed person in the UK now owes over £34000 to pay for our wonderful thirteen years in office, and the LibCon coalition government now has to spend nearly £43 billion a year on interest charges alone, that’s more than it costs to run the Ministry of Defence!
Anyway, back to the TV show, this is Colmans in Ocean Road, South Shields’ most celebrated chippy, couldn’t make my mind up whether or not I should treat Bill Bryson to haddock and chips the other night and not sure if he likes mushy peas. I really ought to cut out these luxuries as I help to pay back the debt with extra jobs, but looking on the bright side, they do serve them up in great boxes which recycle really well.
Was Cllr. Iain Malcolm nobbled by an old mate?
Well thank heavens, ever since the Firefox browser was updated to v 3.6 my Sage RSS news and feed reader became incompatible, reading blogs and updated news stories became tiresome and hard work again, especially when you follow or subscribe to so many, thankfully the developers have written an update for Sage and it reinstalled itself to today and I can now sit here in South Shields easily reading the headlines before diving in for further details, life somehow feels better again
I’ve just enjoyed a very pleasant and tasty tuna pasta bake that Mrs. Curly lashed together for my lunch, although I shall have to walk away the calories later, but the odour seemed to linger, kind of reminding me that I wanted to say that something around here does have a fishy smell about it. Let’s work through this slowly, Cllr. Iain Malcolm, Labour’s leader in South Tyneside initially decided sometime in the past week to add his name and support to a letter objecting to Gordon Brown’s proposals for adult social care (the idea that each will receive personal one to one care), the letter being circulated in an email had cross party support throughout the country from a large number of councils. It outlined the various councils’ opposition to the government’s proposals in the Personal Care at Home Bill calling them:
“unclear, unfunded and are likely to have a significant impact on existing local services, including possible cuts and rises in council tax”
The signatories went on to add:
“What we cannot support, however, is a piece of legislation that has major weaknesses and risks adding further strain to an existing system already under considerable financial pressure.”
They all knew and understood that the government is requiring local councils to make substantial costs savings, yet intended to hammer them with additional bills with this proposed legislation, it just didn’t make sense, hence the support for the letter to the Times hoping that Brown and his ministers would take notice.
The Times passed the letter on to government officials this Tuesday and within minutes some of the signatories were asking that their names be withdrawn from the letter, including South Tyneside Council Leader Iain Malcolm, who The Times spoke to at 7:15 pm on Tuesday. It seems that some of them had an email asking for this action yet the emails all appeared to have the same format, the same text, the same fonts and typeface, looking suspiciously like an organised campaign perhaps?
Ominously David Cameron the Conservative Leader knew that the letter had gone from The Times to the government and he was to respond by asking questions about it at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Gordon Brown’s team will have had advanced warning of the questions from the Opposition Leader a day or so in advance in order to allow the Prime Minister to be briefed, yet oddly a number of the leaders of Labour led councils decided to change their minds and NOT attack Brown’s new policy after being contacted by the former Labour leader of Newcastle City Council Sir Jeremy Beecham who is leader of the Labour group on the Local Government Association. How did he get to know about the letter?
He said he did not know where the information about The Times letter had come from and denied that he had had any conversations with Downing Street or Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, about the issue.
He said it would be “perfectly normal” for a special adviser to have contacted the Labour group and informed them about the letter. He insisted that the Labour leaders contacted were notified about the letter but were not instructed to withdraw their signatures.
Cllr. Iain Malcolm told The Times that the decision to remove his name was entirely his own and that he was unable to to explain why his e-mail was identical in wording and style to other retractions.
Still sounds fishy to me – do you think the government could possibly use sources within the LGA to propagate it’s own agenda by trying to wrong foot David Cameron? Do you think that it is right for council leaders to give support to concise objections one day and withdraw them shortly after, or are they painfully aware that none of Gordon Brown’s proposals are likely to reach the Statute Book in any case?
Think I’ll have another portion of that tuna!
Iain Malcolm tells me that the letter was signed by Cllr. Emma Lewell, the council’s lead member for Independent and Healthy Lives, and when he found out he had her name removed, more here. So that clears that up then!
Err….well, not quite.
The Northern Echo has this:
On February 9, at 7.22pm an email was sent to The Times from council leader Iain Malcolm saying Coun Lewell “has informed me that she wishes to withdraw her name from the list of signatories calling for an independent review of the Government’s proposals on the Personal Care at Home Bill.”
Yet in The Times and The Shields Gazette Cllr. Malcolm is quoted as saying that the decision was entirely his own, hmm, he either decided entirely on his own, or following Emma Lewell’s wishes, or perhaps even someone else’s wishes, who knows?
Cllr Malcolm insists that the version of words used by The Times is correct, but he has also been elevated today and became a target of Guido Fawkes.
Health police launch attack on food
Click picture for story
Yes folks Hilary Benn and Labour’s “health police ” are on the march again as the nanny state establishes a new “Healthy Food Code of Practice” that will ask all restaurants and fast food outlets to clearly label the amount of sugar and fat in unhealthy meals. Not only will they give manufacturers the excuse to score more profit by reducing the amount of crisps in the packet but they’ve even managed to link in the global warming crisis too – ingenious!
They’ll tell us to eat less meat, go vegetarian, and keep a slop bucket in the kitchen, we’ll start digging for victory campaigns in poorly used public parks and become a nation of turnip growers again.
All because Mr. Benn presumably thinks we are all thick and we don’t realise that eating makes us fat!
God save us from the nanny state.
There seems to be a difference of opinion
The South Shields MP and Foreign Secretary David Miliband has a few column inches to his name again today primarily caused by one Hilary Roddam Clinton the American Secretary of State wedded to the former President Bill Clinton.
Now old Bill we remember for his well publicised tete a tetes with Monica Lewinski so perhaps we shouldn’t be over surprised if his wife had any imagined intentions of getting one over on him from time to time.
So I’m not hugely surprised that she comes out with a little frankness and departure from the diplomatic routines in this US interview reported by The Sun and others today:
When Mr Miliband’s name was mentioned, she said: “Oh my God!” The female interviewer then admitted she too had a soft spot for Mr Miliband after talking to him on the phone. Mrs Clinton excitedly told the Vogue journalist: “Well, if you saw him it would be a big crush. I mean, he is so vibrant, vital, attractive, smart. He’s a really good guy – and he is so young!”
You must understand that I’ve only chosen The Sun’s report because apparently the newspaper is no longer flavour of the month with Gordon Brown’s team, but Hilary did rather gush, and David acknowledges that the old girl is a bit of a tease! Not all women share the same feelings for Mr. Miliband of course, indeed there is a profound gaping gulf of opinion as Sub Rosa eloquently illustrates:
Listening to Mr Miliband reminds me of my school’s debating society, maybe because he looks like an overgrown schoolboy, or maybe it’s because his demeanour conveys a lack of stature and a certain amount of immaturity for the position he holds……………but, it’s not his boyish looks that bother me it’s his boyish behaviour. Somehow he doesn’t fill me with confidence about our foreign policy.
Of course, one might have hoped that a lady who had spent so much time trying to pull her husband’s strings in the White House might prove to be a little more savvy when it comes to European politicians, but I prefer the reasoned voice of the Scots lass any day. Let’s be honest when Miliband was talking within the last 48 hours of a campaign “that is not war without end” in Afghanistan, and that it needs a political dimension linked to a military objective before we could safely withdraw our troops, one had hoped that those with some common sense might see it for what it is – electoral window dressing and nothing more. Talking of withdrawal of our troops is probably just what we want to hear, but it isn’t remotely going to happen next year and Miliband knows it.
In other Miliband news and comment David Jones the MP for Clwyd West says after returning from Brussels yesterday:
The generally accepted view is that Tony Blair is out of the running for president and that the Belgian Prime Minister, Herman Van Rompuy, is the hot favourite.
Surprisingly enough, however, and more interestingly, there is a considerable body of opinion that David Miliband is still very much in the running for the possibly more powerful position of High Representative, notwithstanding the protestations of both the Foreign Secretary and his brother that he has ruled himself out. Given that Van Rompuy is a centre right politician from a small country, the theory is that the High Rep position must go to a centre left candidate from a big country and that Miliband is the most obvious candidate.
If that happens, it will be fascinating to see the response from within the Labour party.
Oh well Mr. Jones will not be getting an invite to Coleman’s for fish and chips (yet it would not surprise me at all if Miliband deserts Labour in opposition), as for Hilary Clinton, well you never know she might just turn up in South Shields for a final hurrah and a late flurry of teasing before Miliband bows out of government.
Hope Hilary can tell the difference between cod and haddock or mushy peas and guacamole.